The Mobile Application to Secure Tenure (MAST) project seeks to test the concept of a participatory or “crowdsourced approach” to capturing land rights information using mobile technology, in order to efficiently and affordably map and document land rights. USAID selected Tanzania as the country in which it will carry out the three pilot tests to “ground-truth” the technology, information transfer, and community education/advocacy components of the project’s approach. The MAST pilot fits into USAID’s strategic reform agenda pertaining to the use of science and technology to resolve development problems.
The USAID E3/Land Office funds and oversees the MAST project through its Evaluation, Research, and Communication (ERC) Task Order under the Strengthening Tenure and Resource Rights (STARR) Indefinite Quantity Contract (IQC), and the implementing partner for the pilot sites in Tanzania is the Cloudburst Consulting Group. Based on encouraging preliminary results, USAID/Tanzania has recently decided to scale MAST in an additional approximately 40 villages in Tanzania’s SAGCOT region.
The MAST project has developed and implemented a new methodology using mobile phone technology to facilitate the process of land registration and administration, as well as a new methodology that employs village youth as “Trusted Intermediaries” who are responsible for mapping the land in their village. The initial pilot was undertaken in the village of Ilalasimba, in Iringa District, and ran from January to July 2015. Work in two additional pilot sites in Iringa Region began in fall 2015, and will conclude by late spring 2016.